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The Power of One Bryce Courtenay. Tylia Johnson Period 6 17 May 2013. Bryce Courtenay. Born 14 August 1933 in Limpopo, South Africa Attended one of the most prestigious schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Prince of Wales school.

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The power of one bryce courtenay
The Power of OneBryce Courtenay

Tylia Johnson

Period 6

17 May 2013

Bryce courtenay
Bryce Courtenay

  • Born 14 August 1933 in Limpopo, South Africa

  • Attended one of the most prestigious schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Prince of Wales school.

  • He was branded a communist at the age of 17 for teaching Africans how to read and write, he was thrown out the country

  • At the age of 50 he quit his job and created his own agency, Harris Robinson Courtenay


  • Symbolic

  • *Use symbols to enhance characters and meaning of story as whole

  • Thematic

  • *Gradually reveals life lessons throughout the story

  • Cultural

  • *Utilizes real political and societal issues

1980 s

  • *The effect of the Richard Nixon scandal

  • *Attempt of assassination on Reagan

  • *War between Mozambique and South Africa

  • *Collapse of the Apartheid in Africa

Setting of the novel
Setting of the Novel

  • Takes place roughly between 1939 and 1951, World War II period and the beginning of the apartheid era

  • Book One and Two take place in South Africa while Book Three takes place in Northern Rhodesia

Major characters
Major Characters

  • Peekay; main character; protagonist; obtains the power of one

  • The Judge; antagonist; beats Peekay down mentally and physically during his boarding school days; defeated by Peekay

  • Doc; significant mentor; strong relationship with Peekay; teaches Peekay to be himself and embrace who he is

  • Geel Piet; Peekay’s boxing trainer; close friend; his life lessons led to the defeat of The Judge

  • Hoppie; the reason Peekay began to box; “First with the head, then with the heart”

  • Morris Levy; teaches Peekay the tricks and ways of gambling; partner at the Prince of Wales; he learns about black people through Peekay


  • The Slow Poison of the Apartheid

  • The Importance of Camouflage for Survival

  • The Necessary Existence of Logic and Magic

  • Big vs. Small


  • The Snake; “hatless snake”; cause Peekay shame and embarrassment; later becomes the symbol for Peekay’s transformation; the end of the novel the black mamba snake becomes a symbol for danger; foreshadows

  • The Loneliness Birds; foreshadows a turning point in the growth of Peekay; appears after a death

  • The Full Moon; symbolizes death; can also symbolize birth; significant in last scene

  • “Tadpole Angel”; symbol of hope for blacks

Major conflicts
Major Conflicts

  • Peekay v. The Judge; controls Peekay; abuses Peekay leaving him scarred and afraid to be himself; Peekay is victorious over The Judge in final scene

  • Peekay v. Peekay; does not allow the camouflage to be removed; with the help of mentors he learns who he is


  • "Collapse of Apartheid." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 17 May 2013. <>.

  • Courtenay, Bryce. The Power of One. Toronto: MacArthur &, 1999. Print.

  • Nelson, Elizabeth. "The Power of One Themes." N.p., 12 Aug. 2007. Web. 17 May 2013. <>.

  • "Welcome to the World of Bryce Courtenay." The World of Bryce Courtenay. Penguin Group, n.d. Web. 17 May 2013. <>.